Floridians clamoring to leave the state before Hurricane Irma likely makes landfall on Sunday have been facing exorbitant rates upwards of $3,000 for last-minute domestic flights.
But JetBlue Airways and American Airlines are offering travelers some respite from the pricey fares.
On Wednesday, JetBlue began capping one-way direct flights out of Florida through Sept. 13 at $99. Connecting flights from Florida were capped at $159. Both price points include government taxes.
American Airlines, too, decided to introduce a cap. At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the airline announced it would cap pre-tax fares at $99 for main cabin seats on direct flights out of Florida for tickets sold through Sept. 10, for travel until Sept. 13.
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“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights,” said JetBlue spokesman Philip Stewart in a statement.
We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights.
Philip Stewart, JetBlue spokesman
JetBlue is also was offering $99 one-way flights through Sept. 13 for flights out of Savannah, Charleston, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Romana and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin, Cuba; and Nassau, Bahamas.
JetBlue operates flights out of Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida. American has a hub at Miami International.
“Please note that inventory is running low now as the seats are selling very quickly,” Stewart cautioned.
The airline is also waiving cancellation and change fees, as well as differences in airfare when rebooking, and adding flights out of select cities. American Airlines,too, is waiving a flights to dozens of destinations as a result of Hurricane Irma.
The inventory of cheap JetBlue flights is selling quickly, the airline cautioned.
Both airlines, as well as others, came under fire earlier in the week when prices rose into the several thousands for last-minute flights out of South Florida. Most of the price hikes were the usual increases passengers see for last-minute tickets. But the frenzy to flee Florida had exacerbated the situation.
Some people vented on Twitter — including at American, before it announced its reduction similar to JetBlue’s.
“Escape #HurricaneIrma in style on Friday aboard [American Airlines’] flight from Miami to Newark, NJ (only one stop!) for just $1,747 round trip,” sarcastically tweeted user @johndelsignore.